Research ArticleHIV

An amphipathic peptide targeting the gp41 cytoplasmic tail kills HIV-1 virions and infected cells

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Science Translational Medicine  03 Jun 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 546, eaaz2254
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaz2254

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Making HIV its own worst enemy

Resistance to existing antivirals drives the need for identifying new ways to target HIV. Wang et al. screened a library of peptides from the HIV envelope protein to find ones that could inhibit the virus. One peptide, F9170, targeted HIV gp41 and was effective against free virions or HIV-infected cells. This peptide did not seem to be toxic or immunogenic in mice and is small enough to penetrate tissues that harbor HIV reservoirs. Simian-HIV–infected macaques treated with a short course of F9170 experienced a substantial drop in viral loads. Although further testing and development are needed, it could one day be part of a new treatment regimen for HIV.

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